Forum editorial: Dome must make good on promise
The management of the Fargodome promises a better record of concert bookings in the next year. We'll see. Frankly, the community should not be impressed by the number and quality of acts at the dome since Global Spectrum took over the venue's man...
The management of the Fargodome promises a better record of concert bookings in the next year.
Frankly, the community should not be impressed by the number and quality of acts at the dome since Global Spectrum took over the venue's management last summer. Weak attendance at the dome's attractions confirm that potential concert-goers didn't go.
The new dome management company replaced a firm that had helped make the dome the premier entertainment and sports building in the region. In the decade since the dome opened its doors, it has held concerts by the biggest names in entertainment. It has filled the seats and attracted people from all across the region. That success seemed to collapse in the last year.
Global Spectrum and dome managers will protest that the new contract has been in place only since July 1, 2003, so it's not fair to conclude the company is doing a less-than-adequate job. But there's been significant continuity in the hired management team and certainly among Fargo Dome Authority membership. Yet, the dome's lineup of concerts during the last six months has not measured up to its new competition downriver at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.
To be fair, a handful of the acts that played Alerus in the last few months had played the dome already. The dome, after all, has been operating for a decade. The Alerus is new, so some acts opted for the new building, having already appeared in Fargo.
Also, the Eagles, who have played the dome twice, are coming to Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.
Dome management says it is working to line up top-name acts, in addition to the Shania Twain concert scheduled for June. Among the names being mentioned: Simon and Garfunkel, Cher, Alabama, Metallica, Jimmy Buffet and Rod Stewart. Nice lineup. Even a couple of those acts would be big news.
Also, the dome has operated in the black since day one -- an achievement the Alerus Center has not matched. While the funding structures of the two buildings are different, the dome's financial model has exceeded expectations of even the dome's early opponents. It might be that some of the success of the Alerus is tied to a management decision to compete with the dome for top acts at all costs, even if it means the Alerus has to swim in red ink.
An objective comparison of the two buildings can only conclude the dome is superior. The Alerus looks and feels like it was done on the cheap. It has an unfinished steel bus barn look about it. By contrast, the Fargodome's impressive Hebron brick and steel architecture speaks to North Dakota's commitment to quality and endurance. The authority's expenditures over the years to expand the lobby, spruce up concourses and add instant replay screens reinforce the determination to maintain the dome's place as the premier entertainment and sports building in the region.
But that status can be maintained only if dome managers and authority members deliver on the promise to book big-time shows. An empty building, no matter how impressive, is a loser.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum
management and the newspaper's Editorial Board